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Forming a System of Clinical Preparation: Lessons from CAEP State Alliance Meeting

Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”

To address this problem, the states in the alliance have formed three Clinical Innovation Collaboratives (CICs) in the areas of clinical educators, clinical experience, and clinical partnerships. The CICs are based on the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s model of “networked improvement communities.” Using a 90-day cycle similar to the Carnegie Plan-Do-Study-Act method, each CIC identified a critical problem within its topic and developed a common aim statement to guide its members’ collective work over the next few months. These states are now gathering preliminary information to share at the next in-person meeting in a few months. Once the state teams reconvene, each CIC will develop three to five innovation ideas to test in its programs alongside district partners. This cycle of identifying problems, addressing goals, and developing solutions is the foundation of the alliance’s work.

Many of the alliance members recognized the need to have their PK-12 partners with them throughout these discussions to ensure full stakeholder consensus and, ultimately, full collaboration to facilitate positive change. The University of Louisville’s clinical program hosted a nine-member panel on our first night consisting of student teachers, mentor teachers, principals, clinical faculty, and the superintendent and district personnel. All of the panelists described their experiences going through the program, the value of the partnership using the professional development school (PDS) model, and sharing the responsibility of teaching both the students and the future teachers and leaders. We also visited one of the PDS sites to see the partnership in action. The observations and stories heard that day fueled the majority of our conversations and motivated other participants to bring their PK-12 partners with them to the next meeting.

I look forward to learning more about their results, the next steps, and the innovations uncovered in our discussions. For more information on this initiative, click here.

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Elizabeth Ross

Manager for State Chapters, AACTE